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Daniel Markey on Pakistan

Interviewee: Daniel S. Markey
Interviewer: Jayshree Bajoria
March 24, 2008

Following the victory of opposition parties in February 18 parliamentary elections, Pakistan is transitioning back to democracy after eight years of military rule. This means Washington may have to recalibrate a Pakistan policy that has relied, according to critics, on the country’s president and former military chief Pervez Musharraf. White House officials say they hope opposition leaders will find a way to work with Musharraf.

Daniel Markey, CFR’s Senior Fellow for South Asia, talks of opportunities missed by the Bush administration and new ones presented by the emergence of a civilian government in Pakistan. “It’s an opportunity to help Pakistan’s civilian leaders be more effective at the kinds of things that help Pakistanis—and not just the kinds of things that help Americans directly,” he says.

Markey says Pakistan needs to come to terms with the new reality that its fundamental security concern is not India or Afghanistan, but internal militants, adding that “it’s very difficult to make that shift.” He says the next White House will need to convince Pakistan of its long-term commitment. If that means being generous on the military side, “that may be something we need to continue as well.”

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